Weber Thompson's Terry Thomas Building Named Washington State Sustainable Development of the Year

Design of the Pioneering Mixed-Use Building Honored for its Innovation

SEATTLE – Nov. 10, 2008 – The Terry Thomas, a highly sustainable, mixed-use building designed by Weber Thompson, was named Sustainable Development of the Year by the Washington State Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).

In addition, NAIOP nominated the 40,000-square-foot Terry Thomas in two other categories: Innovation Project of the Year and Office Development of the Year under 250,000 square feet.  The Washington NAIOP chapter represents the state's leading commercial real estate development firms.

NAIOP presented the awards Friday at the association’s Night of the Stars Gala in Seattle.  The ceremony capped a year of accolades for The Terry Thomas.  The four-story office and retail project has won regional and national awards as well as praise from critics, including one who called it the “Toyota Prius of office buildings.”

Earlier this month The Terry Thomas won a commendation at the 2008 AIA Seattle Honor Awards for Washington Architecture.  Out of 175 entries for two categories – Built and Unbuilt – The Terry Thomas was recognized in the Built Projects category. AIA is the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals and allied partners.

“The NAIOP and AIA awards are particularly meaningful because they come from our peers in the development and design industries,” said Scott E. Thompson, AIA and LEED AP, who led The Terry Thomas design team.  “This professional recognition validates our goal of using The Terry Thomas to show developers how to take environmental sustainability to the next level.”

In addition to creating a working demonstration of environmental sustainability, designers sought to create an inspiring work environment with abundant natural light and fresh air.  “Everyone working in The Terry Thomas feels the influence of working in an open, transparent environment,” said Thompson, a founding principal of the firm whose offices occupy more than half of the four-story building.

“We’re connected to the outside world in ways that we never were in our old offices, which were in a sealed-up, air-conditioned building,” said Weber Thompson Senior Principal Kristen Scott, AIA and LEED AP.  “This, along with the natural light and fresh air, creates a great energy and higher productivity among our team members.”

Built without air conditioning, The Terry Thomas relies on a passive cooling system designed around an open-air courtyard.  Warm air is drawn from the building through operable windows and automated louvers controlled by carbon dioxide sensors.  The air flows into the courtyard, which acts like a chimney, sending the warm air skyward.  Additional cooling is provided by exterior fixed and adjustable sunshades and a light-colored roof that reflects heat.

Extensive thermal modeling projected that the interior temperature would exceed 85 degrees only 18 to 21 hours a year.  During Weber Thompson’s first summer in The Terry Thomas, the inside temperature rarely reached this level, and even on the hottest days employees were comfortable, according to Thompson and Scott.

The innovative cooling system is one of The Terry Thomas’ many eco-friendly design strategies.  The building also includes a highly efficient hydronic heating system, efficient plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals. 

Weber Thompson estimates that The Terry Thomas will use 30 percent less energy and 56 percent less water than a traditionally designed building built to the current codes.  The building has gone through commissioning – a quality-control check performed by an independent third party, Keithly Barber Associates – to ensure that the buildings systems were properly installed and are performing according to the specifications.

The interiors of Weber Thompson’s office have only Energy Star equipment.  The furniture and other fixtures have no urea formaldehyde, improving air quality.  In addition, The Terry Thomas’ location along the South Lake Union Streetcar encourages public transit use.

The Terry Thomas also recently won third place in Eco-structure’s magazine’s inaugural Evergreen Awards in the Ecommercial (environmentally responsible commercial) category.  Eco-structure is a nationally distributed magazine.  The interiors of Weber Thompson’s office won second place in the Northwest Design Awards competition.

Weber Thompson designed the building anticipating LEED Gold Core and Shell certification, and LEED Platinum Commercial Interior certification for the firm’s office, the highest level possible.  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally sustainable buildings.

First Western Development Services of Seattle developed the building, which is located in Seattle at 225 Terry Ave. N.  Bellevue-based Rafn Co. was the general contractor for the $10.2 million project.  The Seattle office of Stantec Consulting was the mechanical engineer, and Bellevue-based DCI Engineers did the civil and structural engineering.    

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution images of The Terry Thomas are available on request.

About Weber Thompson
Weber Thompson was founded in 1987 as an architectural firm focused primarily on urban infill, mixed-use projects.  The firm has since evolved into a highly diversified design agency with capabilities in four complementary design disciplines: Architecture, Interior Design, Community Design and Landscape Architecture.  With special attention to its clients’ vision and the environment, as well as careful collaboration between client and design/construction teams, Weber Thompson’s primary objective is to design exceptional, sustainable projects that help its clients find success. For more information, visit or contact Weber Thompson at (206) 344-5700 or

Media Contact:
Denise Trogdon, Weber Thompson, (206) 344-5700;